Say goodbye to U2 in chapel.
Unless you plan to take upper division theology classes, chances are you won’t get to hear about the theology of Bono or the superiority of the iPhone on a weekly basis.
Starting next year, Campus Pastor Kent Kersey, perhaps better known as “PK”, will be moving from working part-time as both campus pastor and ministry professor to teaching full-time in the ministry department.
Kersey heard about the campus pastor position eight years ago while finishing his doctorate at Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.
The job description fit Kersey’s dual desires to teach and to pastor.
“When I saw that position of half campus pastor and half faculty, it really excited me because both of those passions could be fulfilled in the same role,” he recalled.
As part of the lengthy, involved application process, Kersey flew to Oregon to speak in chapel, and was eventually selected from over a hundred applicants.
“He has both scholarly intellect and practical, down to earth application,” said Nancy Hedberg, vice president for student life and who was integral in the hiring process. She added that he was also “very in tune with college aged students.”
Eight years later, Kersey has established himself as not only a professor in classes such as Survey of Biblical Literature, but as a prominent figure of campus life. He spends time investing in students on the worship and mission trip teams, advising ASB for several years and choosing and expanding a chapel theme each semester.
“I love the campus pastor position, love everything about it,” he said. “It’s a dream job. It’s all the best parts of pastoring without all [administrative] headaches.”
But the two roles have played a tug-of-war for his time and attention, leaving him feeling like he was “never fully invested in either one.”
“The decision came down to having split responsibilities that were very different,” he said. “I felt like I spent a lot of time jumping between the two.”
When Mike Flores, former associate professor of youth ministries, announced last semester that he would be leaving Corban, Kersey began considering moving into the open position. He will then most likely teach upper division theology classes alongside core classes like Bible Survey.
The move was officially announced in a campus-wide email from Hedberg Sept. 15.
To the current generation of undergraduates, Kersey has always been Pastor Kersey, lover of all things U2 and Apple, teacher of “reparadigm” and makarios.
“It’s going to be hard for the [next campus pastor] to fill his shoes, at least for upperclassmen,” said junior Erin Kropf.
Hedberg voiced a common response to Kersey’s redefined role.
“I’m sorry to have him leaving the campus pastor position,” she said, “but I’m glad students will benefit from him in the classroom.”
For Kersey, it’s not about a change in title. It’s simply time for his passions to converge in one ministry.
“If [being campus pastor] was the right thing for me, I could keep doing it forever,” he said. “However long I’m [at Corban], I just want to make the best investment of my time as I can. I see that in happening in focusing in one area.”